When I am going through a tough time, it is very easy for me to not see anything positive or happy. I have a tendency toward depression that I have struggled with for years, with varying degrees of seriousness. If you have ever experienced depression, it can be difficult just to get out of bed and eventually make yourself shower- looking for the upside was not a high priority to me. I'm going through one of my lowest points in life right now, but I've been thinking a lot about happiness. As in, I want happiness. : ) I mentioned some marriage trouble in a previous post. Well, Hubs moved out of the house Friday, our deceased son's birthday was Saturday and Sunday was the anniversary of his death. I really expected the weekend to suck, but it was surprisingly okay. Not great, but okay. Here are some reasons I think I'm doing better than expected.
1) I hate chaos and the unknown. It makes me crazy. To counteract the chaos, I've started taking control. There is still a lot of uncertainty in my life, but rather than sit back and see what happens I've starting taking the reins. Some actions are concrete, like opening my own bank accounts and finding my own therapist; other things are a conscious change in perspective. It has helped tremendously to talk with other friends who have gone through similar situations and have every single one say "you'll be a better and happier person when you get through it." It's happening anyway, so I might as well figure out what about it will bring me happiness.
2) Skinnymom.com had this article on five ways to get happy. I've been especially working on the being thankful part. I've started praying again after a nine year absence, and since this marital mess started happening I've been telling God three things I am grateful for every day. Now, some days I was just grateful that the day was over but I was able to come up with three things every day. I can usually come up with more than three now.
3) A very wise friend sent me an Elizabeth Gilbert quote that contained the words "Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation." How awesome is that? I'm looking at the "ruins" of my life as a chance to change things and be a better and happier person. I went on a tour and wine tasting at a local winery I have wanted to visit for years. I've started visiting a church with the girls for the first time in a few years. I'm more open to expanding my circle of friends and experiencing new things than I was before. I also starting looking at what relationships are complete downers and cutting those out of my life (thank you, Facebook unfriend button).
For a lot of years, I based happiness on circumstances and waited to find happiness, like it was a magical unicorn you just happen upon in the forest. I'm starting to feel like happiness is something you pursue or create for yourself. And I fully intend to have it.
How about you? Are you a generally happy person? Do you think your happiness (or lack thereof) is circumstantial or more an issue of perspective?